Covid helped Flanders to reach emission reduction goal - but not really

Due to the pandemic, Flanders has effectively achieved the target for the non-ETS sectors of 15.7% fewer emissions in 2020 compared to 2005. But since the objective is actually assessed on the basis of the whole trajectory between 2013-2020 instead of a momentary comparison, Flanders has in reality failed to reach its goal.

Flanders had to reduce its emissions in the non-ETS sectors (transport, buildings, agriculture, smaller industrial installations and waste) by 15.7% compared to 2005, to 40.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents by 2020. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, emissions for these sectors fell by more than 10% to 39.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The sharp drop in emissions is due, among other things, to the sharply reduced use of the car during the corona crisis and the very mild winter of 2020.

Thanks to the sharp fall in emissions in 2020, Flanders has thus effectively achieved its target for the non-ETS sectors of a 15.7% reduction in emissions in 2020 compared to 2005. But the Flemish climate objective is assessed on the basis of the trajectory over the entire period 2013-2020 and then Flanders just missed its objective. Over the period 2013-2020, Flanders has a limited deficit of about 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents or 0.5% compared to the allocated emission space over this period. Flanders will use part of the emission rights previously purchased abroad to close this remaining gap.

The temporary corona impact is not enough to achieve the targets by 2030. Flanders has committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the non-ETS sectors by 40% by 2030 compared to 2005. This requires ambitious policies from all Flemish ministers, according to Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir.





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